Instant Messaging Taking On More Importance
from the it's-everywhere dept
For all the talk of a battle over search and web-based email, not as many people have been paying attention to the growing battle over instant messaging services. Many people spend a lot of time each day in their IM programs – sometimes even more than their browser. Realizing this, Yahoo, Microsoft and AOL are all working to more closely integrate other aspects of their service into instant messaging. I’m still surprised that none of them have more actively turned their instant messaging program into a Friendster-like social networking service – since it seems like a much more natural fit than having to go into a website and list all your friends. With most IM services, you already have your list of friends and there’s an actual practical use to it beyond surfing through friends of friends. The article also mentions (as we have before) the idea that Google should offer their own instant messaging client. Of course, the article brushes over the issue of interoperability, claiming that people haven’t really been asking for it. That’s not true. I’ve been asking for it for years, and know plenty of others who have as well. While the various services believe they need to stay as separate islands for the purposes of “lock-in,” they’re simply driving people away. I wouldn’t need to use products like Trillian if Yahoo or AIM worked with each other. Just like text messaging on phones and email systems over a decade ago – once people decided to let them communicate across boundaries, they found that everyone did a lot more with them. It doesn’t take people away, it makes them use the services more.